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Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

Where the Red Fern Grows (original 1961; edition 1984)

by Wilson Rawls

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7,761188434 (4.04)145
Title:Where the Red Fern Grows
Authors:Wilson Rawls
Info:Bantam Books (1984), Edition: 1st, Mass Market Paperback, 249 pages
Collections:Non Fiction, Chapter Books
Tags:Dog, Love, Friends

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Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls (1961)


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Showing 1-5 of 186 (next | show all)
I love this book. It is truly excellent in a literature setting for a fifth grade class, as in incorporates all types of literary devises. It is also a fun read, and will most likely be able to interest boys as well as girls in the classroom. ( )
  CleoButtermann | Apr 25, 2016 |
One of the most memorable books of my childhood. ( )
  AZG1001 | Mar 31, 2016 |
I loved this book. I think that it had a great message and a great story for young kids.

Billy Colman is not afraid to work for what he wants. He proved that at a very young age, when he saved for over two years for the thing that he wanted most in the world, two hounds to go coon hunting. Through his experiences he learns many lessons, ones that can be conveyed to the reader as well; Work hard for what you want and it will be most rewarding, there is a reason for everything although you may not see it at first and most importantly, how to love. ( )
  welkeral | Mar 20, 2016 |
After leaving work one evening, Billy Coleman comes across a dog fight in the street. He sees that an old redbone hound is being challenged by the neighborhood dogs. Billy can tell that the tough old hound had traveled a long way. Dormant memories stir in Billy's heart, and he chases off the other dogs. The old hound understands that he has found a friend, and willingly goes to Billy's home, where he cleans and feeds the dog. When the dog is well again, it becomes restless to leave for home and Billy Coleman sets it free, knowing that the old hound will find its way. This event compels Billy to reflect on his own past, and the two coonhounds he had raised and trained when he was a boy in the Ozarks.

Living a simple life in the Ozarks with his parents and three younger sisters, ten-year-old Billy's sole desire is to own a pair of Redbone Coonhounds. He begs his parents for the dogs, but they tell him that the family cannot afford coonhounds. One day Billy finds an advertisement in sportsman magazine offering Redbone Coonhounds in Kentucky for twenty-five dollars each. Billy decides to earn the money himself. For two years, he does many different jobs, such as selling goods to fishermen and selling blackberries and huckleberries to his grandfather. Billy saves his money in an old K. C. Baking Powder can, and after two years, he has fifty dollars. His grandfather writes to the kennel and discovers that the dogs have dropped five dollars in price. He sends for two hound puppies.

The mail buggy does not deliver packages, and so the puppies are to be delivered to the depot at Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Billy travels on his own by foot to the train station in Tahlequah and retrieves his pups. With the extra ten dollars, Billy buys gifts for his family before proudly returning home. On the journey home, he stops to spend the night in Robber's Cave on Sparrow Hawk Mountain. Here he builds a fire and plays with his puppies. While trying to sleep, he hears a noise that at first seems like a woman screaming, but he soon realizes it is really the cry of a mountain lion in the distance. The male puppy boldly goes to mouth of the cave and bays back a challenge to the big cat, the female puppy soon joins him. Billy fears for his dogs, and remembers that his father told him mountain lions were scared of fire, so he rekindles his fire and waits the night out. In the morning, Billy continues on. He comes upon a tree with the names Dan and Ann inside a heart carved into the bark and decides to name his dogs Old Dan and Little Ann.

To train his dogs, Billy captures a raccoon with the help of his grandfather and uses the pelt to teach Old Dan and Little Ann how to track and tree a coon. During their training, the dogs' personalities become more apparent: Old Dan is noted for his bravery and strength and Little Ann for her intelligence. Both are fiercely loyal to each other and to Billy.

On the first day of the hunting season, Billy takes his dogs out for their first hunt. He promises them if they tree a coon, he will do the rest. The dogs are successful in treeing their first coon in a large sycamore, which Billy had before nicknamed "the Big Tree", as it is one of the largest in the mountains. As he tries to call his dedicated dogs off the hunt, they look to him sadly, and he resolves to cut down the enormous tree to fulfill his promise, an exhausting effort that takes him several days of chopping and blistered hands. In the end, when about to give up for the enormity of the task, he offers a short prayer for strength to continue. A wind then picks up and blows the tree over, however it does not stir any other tree in the woods. Old Dan, and Little Ann take the coon down.

Billy, Old Dan, and Little Ann go out hunting almost every night. Billy brings more pelts into his grandfather's store than any other hunter, and the stories of his dogs' unbeatable skills spread throughout the Ozarks, earning them local fame and the envy of other coon hunters. Not long after earning local reputation, two boys named Rainie and Rubin, of the Pritchard family, challenge Billy to a coon hunting contest. They claim that no hound could ever tree the "ghost coon," a coon that lives near the Pritchard's home. Billy tries to ignore the bet, but the Pritchards are cold, and begin to talk badly of his Grandpa. Billy's Grandpa becomes furious and tells Billy to accept the bet that his Old Dan, and Little Ann can tree it. After several hours of hunting and working through the ghost coon's tricks, Little Ann trees the coon. When Billy refuses to kill it--having developed a respect for the animal--Rubin and Rainie get angry, and at that time the Pritchards blue tick coonhound comes up and challenges Old Dan. Rubin then pins Billy down, saying that his dog will easily beat Old Dan, however, Little Ann joined to protect Old Dan and the blue tick coonhound quickly lost. Rubin fears for his dogs life, and grabs Billy's axe and runs toward Old Dan and Little Ann, intending to kill them. However, Rubin trips and falls on Billy's axe and is killed.

Several weeks later, Grandpa enters Billy into a championship coon hunt, pitting Billy against experienced hunters and the finest hounds in all the country. Before the hunt starts, Billy enters Little Ann into a contest for the best-looking hound, where she wins a silver cup. On the fourth night of the hunt, Old Dan and Little Ann tree three coons, qualifying them for the final round. The sixth night, the dogs tree one coon before a blizzard hits. Billy, his father, Grandpa, and the judge lose track of the dogs, and when they finally find them, Billy's Grandpa falls and badly sprains his ankle so he can't walk. They build a fire, and when Billy's father chops down the tree, three coons emerge. The dogs take down two of them, and chase the final coon to another tree. In the morning, the hunters discover the two dogs covered with ice circling the base of a tree. This last coon wins them the championship, and the gold cup.

Billy and his dogs return to hunting as usual. One night, however, Old Dan trees a mountain lion. When Billy approaches, he is shocked, and watches at Old Dan challenges the cat, just as he did when he was a puppy in the cave. The mountain lion takes the challenge, and attacks Old Dan. Little Ann joins to protect him, and the vicious battle rages. Billy joins in, using his axe. The cat turns on Billy, and his dogs immediately throw themselves between him and the mountain lion. Despite the close encounter, Billy keeps fighting to protect his dogs, and eventually sinks his axe into the mountain lion's back. Though the mountain lion is killed, the fight leaves Old Dan mortally wounded. Billy carries his beloved dog home to take care of him, but he dies in the night. Little Ann sinks into depression, stops eating, and dies on Old Dan's grave, leaving Billy heartbroken at the loss of his two beloved dogs.

Saving the dog's winnings from the championship coon hunt along with the money earned from selling raccoon pelts, the family can finally afford to move to town. On the day of their departure, Billy visits his dogs' graves to say goodbye. Upon arriving, he sees that a large plant has grown between the two mounds, a red fern. According to an old Indian legend, only an angel can plant a red fern and wherever it grows is sacred.

  bostonwendym | Mar 3, 2016 |
Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
249 pages


When I was a young kid, I had A LOT of difficulties with reading; to the point that I was sent to special education classes until they figured out I wasn’t “slow”, just dyslexic. Why is this important to know? Because due to my struggle, I just didn’t want to read. But this was the first book I really remember picking up and reading from beginning to end and I remember the impact it left on me (whether because it was the first book I finished or because of the actual writing, I don’t know). So when there was challenge in one of my groups to pick up a book I had once read, this book came to mind immediately. My copy disappeared 20 years ago, so instead of picking up a copy at the library, I couldn’t help but procure my own copy once again. I practically cried when it showed up in the mail for goodness sakes. So would the book live up the hype I had given it all these years? That was my main concern – that my all time favorite book would be tarnished with time.

Ok, so I was probably better off not re-reading this one. The magic that was there the first time wasn’t quite as noticeable. I found it boring in parts, a bit repetitive. In other parts, I found parts more rushed than necessary. Regardless of that, I loved the nostalgia in getting into this book so long after the first read through. Instead of over-criticizing it, I had to just go with it at times and remind myself that this is a children’s book, not one of my “big-kid” books. I loved the simplicity in the love between a boy and his dogs. Anyone who has animals can probably relate to some extent. And of course, anyone who has read this book knows at least a couple tissues are needed for the last 10 percent of this book! Does Where the Red Fern Grows hold up as well as I had hoped? Not quite but still love it.
( )
  UberButter | Feb 9, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Rawls, Wilsonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Heald, AnthonyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McGinnis, RobertCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To my wonderful wife
without whose help this book
would not have been
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When I left my office that beautiful spring day, I had no idea what was in store for me.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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This is the original book by Wilson Rawls; please do not combine with any film adaptation.

ISBN 0821919873 is not a dvd.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0440412676, Paperback)

Author Wilson Rawls spent his boyhood much like the character of this book, Billy Colman, roaming the Ozarks of northeastern Oklahoma with his bluetick hound. A straightforward, shoot-from-the-hip storyteller with a searingly honest voice, Rawls is well-loved for this powerful 1961 classic and the award-winning novel Summer of the Monkeys. In Where the Red Fern Grows, Billy and his precious coonhound pups romp relentlessly through the Ozarks, trying to "tree" the elusive raccoon. In time, the inseparable trio wins the coveted gold cup in the annual coon-hunt contest, captures the wily ghost coon, and bravely fights with a mountain lion. When the victory over the mountain lion turns to tragedy, Billy grieves, but learns the beautiful old Native American legend of the sacred red fern that grows over the graves of his dogs. This unforgettable classic belongs on every child's bookshelf. (Ages 9 and up)

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:43 -0400)

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A young boy living in the Ozarks achieves his heart's desire when he becomes the owner of two redbone hounds and teaches them to be champion hunters.

(summary from another edition)

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